Our SW:TOR Gameplay Demonstration @ E3

BioWare has frequently mentioned that, with Star Wars: The Old Republic, they're not just making Knights of the Old Republic 3, they're making 3, 4, 5, 6, etc. During our gameplay demo at E3 last week we got a taste of that metaphorical content pie and boy did it taste good! Obviously there is a major difference between a great demo at a convention and a solid game; however, if BioWare can continue with the progress they've already made, there is no doubt in my mind that the game will be a success. Maybe even a success comparable to World of Warcraft.


Our demo started with a viewing of the now famous geekgasm of a trailer which was so significant, it undoubtedly interrupted Mr. Lucas' money counting. After the demo, our host, Dallas Dickinson, gave us a look at the Bounty Hunter and the recently announced Smuggler class. It's important to note that the Smuggler is going to be amazingly fun to play. I'm sure there is some naiveté in that statement, but hear me out. BioWare has created a "cover system" in which the Smuggler can see around walls, behind trees and other objects. To clarify, I'm talking about a cover system like within Gears of War. I can't speak to whether or not it has that much depth, but it will definitely be a key part of playing a Smuggler.

Recap of ZAM's E3 Coverage

Members of the ZAM team were on the floor of the Electronic Entertainment Expo 2009 at the Los Angeles Convention Center last week to bring you all sorts of information on your favorite MMOs. You can check out all of our coverage on our E3 news feed, but we've compiled all of our noteworthy features and news posts in this post for easy access. So keep reading below and after the jump for our in-depth E3 coverage, from the unveiling of Final Fantasy XIV Online to our impressions on Star Wars: The Old Republic!

ZAM E3 Features

All Points Bulletin E3 Impressions: Andrew "Tamat" Beegle gives us a first look at All Points Bulletin, Realtime Worlds' upcoming fast-paced third-person action MMOG. While he didn't see any live gameplay, he was highly impressed with the level of depth available in character creation, as well the number of car models and in-game MP3 player.

Star Wars: The Old Republic at E3: The ZAM team had the opportunity to enjoy a private gameplay demonstration of Star Wars: The Old Republic, and everyone was amazed by what they saw. Of course, the team wasn't allowed to record footage of any of the gameplay, but Tamat did get an exclusive interview with SW:TOR Lead Writer Daniel Erickson and Lead Designer James Olhen. Check out the video!

The Potential in Heroes of Telara: Trion World Networks unveiled its new fantasy MMO at E3, and Tamat gives us his first impressions on the game. While he says it's too early to tell if Heroes of Telara will deliver on its promises, he does emphasize it's a beautiful game with some new ideas and improvements to ideas that have potential.

E3 Interview with Jens Andersen: Once you've watched the PS3 gameplay demo for DC Universe Online, check out our interview with Jens Andersen, the game's creative director.

E3 Gameplay Footage of The Agency: The ZAM team was able to get some video of a mission being played out in The Agency. Take a closer look at this espionage action game from Sony Online Entertainment.

E3 Booth Babes

Reporters tend to get a little scatter-brained by the end of E3. In an effort to relieve some of that stress, ZAM's Andrew Beegle spent the last day at the expo performing his own time-honored tradition of courting the local talent. (Otherwise known as "Booth-Babe Stalking" to anyone who's not Andrew.) It's one of his most favored pastimes; whether he's honing his "direct-eye-contact" skills or bragging about his Greatsword of Girthful Terror with a "professional" WoW gamer, it's the glimmering light at the end of any dark expo tunnel.

As per usual, Andrew wouldn't dream of breaking tradition, as you can see in the following video from ZAM's E3 2009 coverage. Our Editor-in-Chief decides to up the ante this year and jump in the pool head-first, abandoning the usual toe-dipping. Things actually look a bit optimistic at first, when a gorgeous young booth babe asks Andy just exactly where he'd take her out, if she let him. Rather than spoiling his brilliant reply, you can pretty much sum it up with this: /facepalm.

Luckily for Andrew (and our squirming viewers), he decides to hit up Casey from the MMO Report for a little sage advice. It turns out Andrew's talent spec and primary skills were way off-base for this type of encounter; no wonder he was wiping so much! After a quick respec and some heavily-stacked Charisma points, he repairs, suits up and goes back out for one last try. Check it out after the jump!

League of Legends at E3

League of Legends is a game that we've been watching closely because of its fun, session based, competitive gameplay that keeps players engaged via rich community features and persistent MMORPG elements. The gameplay is similar to the famous Warcraft III mod Defense of the Ancients (DotA), only LoL has much more depth. To that point, League of Legends takes the training wheels off DotA.

In our recent interview with League of Legends Director of Systems Design, Tom Cadwell, a name you may recognize because of his work on Warcraft III and World of Warcraft, he said "... we are adding multiplayer matchmaking, the summoner system (which is a persistent advancement system but with more depth than COD 4 or TF2 unlocks), and optimized controls and engine built specifically for this type of game.  We feel that DotA revealed an incredible new game genre, and we are trying to take this genre to the next level in as many ways as we can." At the League of Legends E3 party we had the opportunity to fully explore the game, it's clear they're headed in the right direction.

During our time hanging out with the Riot Games team we had the chance to snag Lead Creative Designer, Shawn Carnes to talk about the game. After the interview I challenged him to a quick match of something we like to call "Bowling for Beta Keys" and as fate would have it, we won! Because of that victory, the first ten comments get access to the extremely closed League of Legends beta. Special thanks to our friends over at Riot Games for the great party and the extra beta keys to hand out. Good luck and enjoy our E3 League of Legends coverage!

All Points Bulletin E3 Impressions

If you've ever played games like Grand Theft Auto IV or Crackdown and thought to yourself, "I'd like to see someone do an MMO like this", then prepare to have your mind blown because a developer in Scotland is working on that very game. Do I have your attention? Great! Keep reading for our first look at Realtime Worlds' upcoming fast-paced third-person action MMOG titled All Points Bulletin (APB).

During our demonstration with Dave Jones, Realtime Worlds' Creative Director and E.J. Moreland, Lead Designer of APB at the Electronic Entertainment Expo (E3) last week, we were shown a game that not only looks like a blast to play, but one that has more customization and depth than most of the games we've taken a look at this year. Unfortunately we still weren't able to give it a try for ourselves but the demonstration definitely kept us enthralled and fed our anticipation glands.

Star Wars: The Old Republic at E3

Earlier in the week it was announced that Star Wars: The Old Republic would be the first fully voiced MMO giving BioWare the ability to engage the player unlike anything we've ever seen in the MMO space. "We think this changes everything for MMOs. Being a fully voiced game completely draws the player in and creates those emotionally engaging moments that we want our players to experience. ... As you can tell, story means a lot to us. Up until now MMO games have shown an impressive commitment to the classic RPG features of exploration, combat and progression, what we call "The Three Pillars". What we're adding is something that is fundamental to the success of great entertainment in general, story. This is what we mean when we talk about bringing the fourth pillar of story to the MMO genre." said Ray Muzyka, Co-Founder of BioWare at a press conference on Monday.

We had the opportunity to go behind closed doors off the show floor to get a private gameplay demonstration that had us looking at each other in amazement. Unfortunately we weren't allowed to record what we saw but it's this gaming enthusiasts opinion that if Star Wars: The Old Republic plays similar to what we were shown at release -- naysayers are in for a big surprise and fans of BioWare, KOTOR and brilliantly developed MMORPG are in for a special treat.

Stay tuned after the jump for our exclusive interview with SW:TOR Lead Writer, Daniel Erickson and the Lead Designer, James Olhen.

YNK Interactive Announces Two New Games at E3

YNK Interactive, publisher of Rohan: Blood Feud (the popular free-to-play Korean MMORPG, recently ported to English), announced at E3 the development of two new games, as well as the new "Crafting System" feature we reported earlier today. In a press release, YNK said it expects both new games to come out sometime this Fall: "Krazy Aces, an online aerial combat racing game and K.O.S., a first person shooter (FPS)," as described in the release. There's not much more info available yet, but Krazy Aces already has the beginnings of a website, where you can register for its upcoming closed beta.

YNK Interactive is a U.S. subsidiary of YNK Korea, a popular Asian online game developer (Seal Online, Sting) since 1998. The Western port of Rohan: Blood Feud was fairly well-received, now totaling more than 500,000 registered users worldwide, and self-described as "one of the first mature rated MMORPGs," and featuring "gory battles, vengeance hit-lists, and provocative costumes combined with intricate and elaborate graphics."

The Potential in Heroes of Telara

It's always interesting to see how a company chooses to start a gameplay demonstration; especially when they're showing the game for the first time. After the big announcement that Trion World Networks is developing Heroes of Telara, we had the chance to see it for ourselves. "Trion is doing server based, MMORPGs. What that means is that Trion is moving more of the systems off the client and onto the server. Things like AI, Physics and World Simulation." said Russ Brown, Trion's Senior Development Director before he went on to explain that this allows them to do exciting, spontaneous scripted events that can be executed at whatever time they want, from the server side.

While this direction isn't exactly exciting by itself, it does have potential to be. Actually, the word "potential" is the best word I can think of to describe Heroes of Telara. That's not to be taken negatively; I'll take a game with potential over a game that's obviously flawed any day of the week.

Jumpgate Evolution PvP Demonstration @ E3

We've been excited to see a live PvP demonstration of Jumpgate Evolution for some time now. This is mostly due to the fact that the game will support "epic large-scale" PvP battles against thousands of players in real time. When we met with the President of NetDevil Scott Brown at E3 earlier this week -- he gave us an exclusive taste of the PvP pie by allowing us a look at some of the action going on in the Jumpgate Evolution "friends and family" beta.

Don't worry! We didn't forget about you. We've filmed the entire demonstration and it can be viewed after the jump.

Square Enix FFXIV Press Conference Transcription

With Square Enix's Press Conference still fresh on the minds of MMORPGers around the world, ZAM continues to bring you coverage on the information released at this year's E3. The following is the full transcript of the Q&A session conducted with select press attendees on Wednesday.

Don't forget to check out the amazing in-depth summary of the interview that followed, written by our new FFXIV Content Manager, Elmer the Pointy.

Discuss the press conference in the new FFXIV forums!